Visualize this scenario. You are walking through a busy subway and someone bumps into you, glares at you, and continues on. It's much harder to say excuse me in that situation rather than excuse you. To place the blame on yourself when you know you weren't at fault. Yet escalating the situation can lead to verbal or physical confrontation, and you wonder how one bump escalated to something unexpected.
Why does it take so much effort to "swallow our pride" and let things go? Why do we take trivial things personally?
Most scenarios have our default reaction, and the reaction we should have had. The reaction we should have is often hard, so we don't do it. I call these the "hard things".
It's hard to pickup the bottle near the trash because it's not your responsibility. It's hard to say excuse me instead of excuse you when it's not your fault.
It's hard to ignore and move on from the word you feel is condescending when mentioned by a colleague.
It's hard to not take things personally.
It's hard to do the thing no one else is willing to do.
It's hard to pause, and do the opposite of your initial reaction.
The hard things are hard.
And yet they are hard, not impossible. It's possible to smile and say excuse me when you're bumped into. It's possible to pick up that bottle and throw it away. It's possible to move on and not let what was said impact you.
Think of a professional. A professional practices hard things until they look easy. A professional recognizes the hard things, and views them as a surmountable challenge.
An example. Los Angeles Lakers versus Orlando Magic. Kobe Bryant versus Matt Barnes. Bryant and Barnes were going at it all game, and during one moment Barnes fakes throwing the ball at Kobe's face, and Kobe doesn't flinch, doesn't react. His levels of self-awareness and self-control are fine tuned, and he doesn't react with the same impulsive reaction most of us would in that situation. A professional at work.
All of us can become a professional. Start with mindset and confidence, and then practice.
Taking on the hard things as an amateur is overwhelming. You're susceptible to giving up fast. You can fight this by thinking you're a professional before you really are. Thus when faced with a hard things scenario your mindset will make the situation seem less hard. During a hard moment pause and think, what would a professional do? How would a professional react? Then push through and try it.